“Three Things”

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 21, Issue 21     November 20, 2011

I believe it is time that we the body of Christ learn to recognize the scriptural pattern God uses to produce His servants.  And the hard truth is this: Pain, torment, sorrow and failure have produced the men and women of God who have stirred their generations.

If you really want to find out about the processes that produce Godliness, then study what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Look at Jesus, the Son of God, because when all is said and done, He is our example.

It always encouraged me to know that there is no trial
facing us that Jesus did not face Himself.
He is touched by the feelings of our infirmities
and afflictions - every one of them.

There are three trials that every true man and woman of God will confront:
        1. a cup of pain
        2. a night of confusion
        3. an hour of Isolation

1.  A Cup of Pain
To be a man or woman of God, you must at some point be served a cup of pain.  Listen to Jesus' words in the Garden: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”  Matthew 26:39

Jesus had spent His whole ministry fulfilling the will of the Father. For three years His life and mission had headed straight toward His cup of pain (the Cross of Calvary).  Whatever pain was in that cup forced Jesus to sweat drops of blood and to cry out, “O God, if it's at all possible, deliver Me. I'd rather let this cup pass - it's too heavy a burden for Me!”

I don't know what your cup of pain may be.  But many of God's precious children have prayed for years for their deliverance - and are still waiting for it.

I believe in healing and I believe we will have afflictions.  But I also believe in healing afflictions.  Look at what David said, “Before I was afflicted, I went astray: but now have I kept Your word.” 
Psalm 119:67

Don't think just because you have pain that the devil must be attacking you - that you are not living according to the Scriptures - that you have sin in your life and you're being judged by God.  To say the devil was causing David's pain suggests that the devil was driving him to the Father.

  • Do you want to be a man or woman of God?
  • Do you want the hand of God on your life?
Then you will be given a cup of pain.  You'll weep not so much from feeling physical pain, but from a pain that's much worse. It's the pain of being bruised and rejected by friends - the pain that parents feel when teenagers trample their hearts and become strangers to them.

It's the pain that fills the hearts of husbands and wives when walls of silence are built up and first love disappears.  The turmoil within, the difficulties at home, the restless, sleepless nights.  You know that God is real, that you're walking in the Spirit and loving Jesus with all that's in you, and yet still you're being forced to drink a cup of pain.

The Bible says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous” Psalm 34:19.  And even though God promises to deliver us from them all, it still hurts when we go through them.

When Jesus was in His hour of pain, Peter approached Him with a sword in his hand.  In essence, Peter told Jesus, “Master, You don't have to go through this! I'll head them off. You go ahead and run - get out while You can!”

A lot of well-meaning Christians are like Peter.  They run around with swords, ready to cut off the ear of the devil.  They say to those who are hurting, “Run while you can! You don't have to put up with this, God's a good God - you don't have to drink this cup at all!”

But my dear friends, don't try to run from the cup of pain He gives you.

Jesus said to Peter, “Put up your sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father has given me, shall I not drink it?”  John 18:11

Jesus could drink it now because He saw who was serving the cup.
It was His Heavenly Father.

Knowing the difference: Matthew 27:34 “They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when He had tasted it, He would not drink.”  The word gall here means POISON.  Gall is very bitter.  Christ refused the gall, knowing the bitter taste meant it was a poison.

He did not want to die from poisoning, but by His shed blood so as to become the supreme sacrifice for the sins of all mankind.

2.  A Night of Confusion
To be a man or woman of God, you also must face a night of confusion.  Jesus said, “My soul is  exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.”  Matthew 26:38

Can you imagine the Son of God saying this?

The hardest part of faith is the last half hour. 
The night of confusion always comes just 
before the victory, just before the light dawns.

It will seem that your sense of purpose has been lost.  When David's night of confusion came, he said, “Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.” 
Psalm 143:4

In Peter's dark night of confusion, he became afraid and denied even knowing his Master.

When Job faced his dark night, he said, “God goes by me and I see Him not: He passes on but I perceive him not.”  Job 9:11

A move had taken place in heaven.  A checker moved on the board of Job's life and he responded by saying, “Lord, I haven't trusted in my riches. I haven't hidden my sins. I've been honest; my integrity hasn't left me. Why must I suffer? Why do I have to face this confusion, something I don't even understand?”

Like Job, many Christians cannot understand why they must suffer. They wonder, “Lord, I've not cheated anybody. I'm not seeing another man's wife. I don't have any dishonesty in me. Why should I have to face a night of confusion? Why can't I get clear guidance?”

Like David, many Godly people today face a moral issue in their life - and in their night of confusion they say, “God, why me? My heart was searching after You, and suddenly sin overwhelmed me. It plagued my soul.”

Even the most humble servant of God doesn't hear clearly from the Father all the time.

Thank God, it is only a dark night, and it will
pass - joy will come in the morning!

3.  An Hour of Isolation
Finally, as a man or woman of God you must face an hour of isolation.  These words came from the lips of Jesus, God's own Son: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  Matthew 27:46

The hour of isolation comes when it seems God has hidden His face, and none of your friends truly understand what you are going through.

But, you say God never leaves or forsakes us!
  • Does God really hide His face from those He loves?
  • Is it possible He lifts His hand for a short while, to teach us trust and dependence?
The Bible answers clearly: “God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.”  II Chronicles 32:31

I believe.....
that when a man or woman of God is in the making,
enemy forces will come against him with great fury.

But he can stand up and say, “Though I am tried and tested, though all these forces are arrayed against me - I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 
II Timothy 1:12

That's the time to take your stand!  “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 
II Timothy 1:7

Don't get excited, don't panic. 
Ride out the storm. 
Commit all things to God.

Jesus prayed for Peter that his faith would remain - Luke 22:32.  He knew that Peter's trial was God's way of strengthening his faith!

Are you going through a great testing in your life?  If so, stay in the Word. Run to the Lord and spend time shut in with Him.  Stop trying to think your way through it.

Those who get to the Cross
must go through Gethsemane.
But after the sorrow, joy comes in the morning.

Oh, precious, troubled saint - God has not forgotten you.  He has bottled every tear you've ever shed.
  • You must make Him the joy and hope of your life.
  • You must let His Spirit change you, so that circumstances can't hinder you anymore.
God does His best work when He's changing us.

That way, whatever comes, you will learn to rest above it all - seated with Him in Heavenly places.
Remember…..you are the object of His incredible love!


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 21, Issue 20     November 13, 2011

“You brought me up, O LORD, from the dead; you restored my life as I was going down to the grave... Weeping may spend the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:3&6

What a wonderfully encouraging portion of scripture!

Of course you must believe that this is more than nice poetry.

The faith the Psalmist declares represents an uncommon way of looking at life.  It is a Rare Faith!

Our hearts are so often broken and our faces so often wet with tears.  Terror, trouble and tragedy test our faith to the point that we toss it aside?

Let’s be honest with ourselves and with God.  The psalmist was honest with God.

He not only confesses to God his despair and hopelessness through tears of anger and resentment and pain in the night; he also affirms his triumph over adversity when he rediscovers the faith that was there from the moment he first began to walk with the Lord.

There may be some who because of their hard life do not believe this verse.  They are quick to sing “Wasted days and wasted nights”.

However this psalmist threw himself in his weakness into the Everlasting Arms Deuteronomy 33:27 and God did not fail him.

“He has turned for me my mourning into dancing”, he sings proudly. “He came, he declares, like a wise and tender nurse and removed my galling garment of sackcloth and decked me in a garment of gladness. And what God has done for me, he declares with assurance, he will do for you. Weeping may tarry for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

This kind of faith keeps alive our hope.  It enables us to carry on with patient courage.

As a firefighter and first responder, I have looked into the face of one who had committed suicide.  It was a pathetic face, it was one of hopelessness.  He had lost heart and gave up the fight. Friends, the night of weeping may be long and lonely, but joy is coming in the morning.

Not only will this faith give us hope it will be light to us during the night of our weeping.  What is it that makes sorrow so bitter?  Hopelessness.  If we could only believe there is a cure, it wouldn’t be so hard.  If there was but a little light at the end of the tunnel, it wouldn’t be so debilitating.

For instance, when my mom and dad were unaware of my whereabouts, whether I was alive or not, they were desperate. Then there is a postcard in the mail box informing them to read the story of the Prodigal son and that I would see them in the spring. A moment later, although my whereabouts was still unknown, the despair was gone from my parents’ hearts. A great joy had come in its place. And then when I did come home - they said they had expected me!

To those of you who are passing through a long night of weeping, I beg you to hear this message.  Hear it, and your heart will sing.  Joy is coming in the morning!

Psalms 37:23-25 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholds him with his hand. I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”

Is such a faith possible for us who live in these trouble filled days?  This psalmist had been suffering from some deadly disease.  So close to the gates of death, he saw himself among the dead.

There are those who pray just as earnestly as this poet, who, in spite of all their prayers, in spite of the prayers of those who love them, go quickly down to death.  There are others who go on suffering for long, torturing years.

But while God does not always see fit to give physical healing in answer to our prayers, He does something that may be even better.  He gives an inner strength, a calm courage that enables the person to bear whatever load is laid on him.

I Corinthians 10:13 “God is faithful, He will not allow you to be tempted beyond your ability, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, so that you may be able to bear it.”

Friends, God Himself gives in answer to prayer a quiet heart, an abiding peace and fullness of life.

We learn with Paul that God’s grace is sufficient and we too shout, “Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest on me.”  II Corinthians 12:9

Isaiah 55:12, 35:10 “For you shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap [their] hands; And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

“You brought me up, O LORD, from the dead; you restored my life as I was going down to the grave…. Weeping may spend the night, but joy comes in the morning.”  Psalm 30:3&6

In closing, look with me at two people of Jesus’ day:  Jairus, a leader of the synagogue and a woman hiding in the crowd.  Despite the stark differences between these two characters, in essence their longing is the same…..to make contact with Jesus.

  • What do you need that would lead you to Jesus?
  • What would cause you to throw yourself at Jesus' feet to intercede for someone you love or for a cause you hold dear?
What fierce longing for wholeness or fullness of life would send you to Jesus with the audacity of that nameless woman who refused to quit, refused give up, even after 12 years of fruitless effort?

Both Jairus and the nameless woman show that healing begins with desire. And our longing must be persistent, bold, brave, unflappable and unstoppable.

Jairus ignores the people who tell him it's too late, his daughter is dead.  The woman with the flow of blood ignores the jostling crowd, the social taboos that exclude her and the apparent hopelessness of her case.

The two of them persistently
  • dare to ask
  • dare to trust
  • dare to hope
They are motivated by a rare faith that is
too stubborn, too steadfast, too humble,
a holy motivation fighting against all odds.

I invite you to imagine her weariness, how depleted she feels after these years of suffering and loneliness.  If she could only touch His clothes - that would be enough!  She has no right to be there.  She would be chased away, or worse.  But she pushes her way through the crowd, dodging, darting, hiding her face, and sneaks up on Jesus from behind.  She stretches out her fingers and then - she does it!  She touches Jesus' cloak!  Instantly something happens in her body!  Who knows what she feels?

Whatever the sensation, the bleeding stopped and she knows it.  Her body is intact.  She is whole.  This healing takes place in an instant, in the blink of an eye and Jesus is immediately aware that power has gone forth from Him.

He turns asking, “Who touched my clothes?”  The disciples, as usual are clueless, but Jesus continues to look around, and with fear and trembling, the woman comes forward, falls down before Him and tells Him the whole truth.

“Daughter,” He calls her, “your faith has made you well, go in peace!”

Just how desperate are you?

What would happen within you if you heard Jesus say to you, “Daughter/Son, your faith has made you well; go in peace”?

Jesus touches the untouchable.  He touches the woman who is bleeding and the corpse of the little girl who has died.  “Get up!” He says. “Arise!”

  • liberates the outcast
  • cleanses the sinful
  • restores the dead to life
His healing moves out in every direction, to Jew and Gentile, male and female, outcast and privileged, young and old.

In His name and sharing His Spirit, we are sent out to be like Jesus in the world, intending the best for everyone, wanting everyone to be touched by the divine love that knows no bounds, so that other people can know, as we do, that weeping may spend the night, but joy comes in the morning.


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 21, Issue 19     October 30, 2011

Man oh man…..do I have GOOD NEWS for you!

I am not merely held by the hand of a limited God ... but according to Ephesians 3:20 “He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.”

We are not just given a life, but according to John 10:10 “life and that more abundantly”.

We are not just given power to overcome our enemies ... but according to Judges 10:9-33 “we are given power to subdue the enemy of our soul!”

Digging a little deeper, we see that the Israelites had asked for one victory in one battle.. yet God enabled them to completely subdue them from that time on!

God has so much more for you than the victory in one battle.  He wants you to subdue your enemy so you will have the total victory!  He makes you more than conqueror!

Folks, I believe that God always over answers the prayers of His children.

  • I am not merely a conqueror through Christ, but according to Romans 8:37 “we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
  • I do not merely have joy, but according to I Peter 1:8 “we can rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
  • I am not a recipient of mere promises, but according to II Peter 1:4 “we are given exceeding great and precious promises.”
  • I am not a recipient of a measure of grace, but according to I Timothy 1:14 “the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”
He continually gives us more than we ask for.

Think for a moment.....God has done that for you!

*  You asked God for a clean heart
He gave you a new one!  He gave you a heart that hungers after Him, a heart that thirsts after Jesus!  He gave you eyes to see and ears to hear.

*  You asked for forgiveness
He not only forgave, He wiped out the record!  He put a hatred for sin in you, and flooded your soul with hope and confidence in Jesus!

*  You asked for peace
Jesus became your morning dew.  He refreshes your soul daily.

You are not dead or dying - you are alive and growing in Him!  He waters your soul with His word.

You only asked to be saved and
God poured it on in abundant measure!

David said of the Lord in Psalms 130:7 “Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD [there is] mercy, and with him [is] plenteous redemption.”

Even when we are wayward at times. Isaiah 55:7 says, “Return to the LORD, and he will have mercy, return to God, for he will abundantly pardon.”

He not only forgives sin - He overflows with mercy and grace!

Matthew 7:11 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”

One of my favorites is in Acts 3:2. “A certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, and laid daily at the temple gate called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.”

He simply wanted a little bit of money!

“And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed to them, expecting to receive something of them....

Peter said, Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted [him] up: and immed-iately his feet and ankle bones received strength.”

This beggar would have settled for some green back, instead he got what money could not buy!

We too must change our
level when we pray.

Ephesians 3:20 describes God as the “one that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.”

May our Father’s nature be more to our keeping as well.

We need to walk in the foot steps of our Lord,
becoming more than generous!

Luke 6:38 “Give, and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your. For the way you give out is the way you will receive..sow sparingly, reap sparingly!”

I Corinthians 2:9-10 “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.”

I Timothy 6:17 “trust in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.”

Somehow we’ve come to think it spiritual
to not ask Him for anything.

Yet, Jesus says in Luke 11:9 & Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it shall be given; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened.”

In the Old Testament the Lord had spoken to Ahaz saying, ask for a sign from Me.  His response may sound holy, “I won’t tempt God!”

But, it angered God.  He knew Ahaz had lost his faith long before this incident.

Like so many today, this guy didn’t want his faith tested....

Some never ask God for anything
because it will test a faith they don’t have!

Ahaz had already figured a way out of his dilemma.... he did not want to bother God with it.  God said, “Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also?”

How long will you disgust the Lord your God, when will you trust Him?

  • How long before you stand on My word?
  • When will you learn that I am the great I AM?
  • When will you believe that I have all that you will ever need?
  • I can and will take care of you!
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign”.

This is perhaps the greatest over answer of prayer yet!  “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

The people had cried, “send us a deliverer”.  They had thought “some man”.  Well, this was some man alright - it was none other than Immanuel Himself!

Pray, believing that God delights to
answer you in His own way and time...
trust Him for your financial situation,
trust Him for those unsaved loved ones,
trust Him for that healing!


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 21, Issue 19     October 16, 2011

Over 150 years ago, Henry Varley said, “The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.”

I don’t know about you, but I want to be a person God can use.  The Lord is still looking for men, women, boys and girls that He can fill with His Spirit and use to make a difference for Jesus.

God is on the lookout today for people who will be:

Quiet enough: The person God uses must be still and know that He is God.

Psalm 46:10  “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Quiet not only in voice but spirit.  We live in a world that more and more is verging on all out hysteria.

The human race is bordering a nervous and mental breakdown.  But we, the children of God, must not catch the spirit of the age.  We must counteract the spirit of craziness.

Many an Elijah had to learn the lesson of the still, small voice.

I Kings 19:10-13  “And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts.. . And God told him stand on the mount and, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice, when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went and stood in the entrance of the cave.”

Brave enough: An old conductor stood at a gate in a railroad station on a bitterly cold night, leisurely punching tickets while restless passengers stamped their feet and grumbled.

“You are an unpopular man tonight, conductor,” said one as he passed the gate.  The old conductor replied, “There is only one man with whom I am interested in being in good standing, and that is the superintendent of this railroad.”

The person God uses needs something of that spirit today.
  • willing to accept the risks
  • willing to accept the ridicule
“The fear of man brings a snare.” 
Proverbs 29:25

Honest enough: I say “honest,” because I believe it to be plain dishonesty to press upon others advice that you yourself have never taken.

“Cursed be he that does the work of the Lord deceitfully.” 
Jeremiah 48:10

“To hear the Word and not do it is to deceive ones self.” 
James 1:22

No sermon is so powerful as the individual’s life,
and without it, the testimony of lip is
but sounding brass and clanging cymbal.

God is on the lookout for people whose heart is perfect toward Him.

Will you be quiet enough to hear Him, brave enough to proclaim Him and honest enough to obey Him?

If we are ever used in this life, it will be because we a leaning upon Him and His resources for our strength and provision!


They are committed …
        In spite of the obstacles
                In spite of the opposition

Do you want to be that kind of person?  I do!

Regardless of what it costs in time, energy or reputation,
it will be worth it to be used of the Lord.

Wherever you may be right now, you can become a person God uses for His glory.

Let’s determine to pay the price to be that person for the glory of God!

Act 9:1-2  “And Saul, yet breathing out threats and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.”

Act 9:10-18  “And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and the Lord in a vision said, “Ananias”? And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said, Arise, and go to the house of Judas and ask for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he is praying, And has seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem: And he has authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on Your name. But the Lord said, Go your way: for he is a chosen vessel, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel… And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared to you, has sent me, so that you may receive your sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received his sight. He arose, and was baptized. Saul stayed a few days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And right away he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.”

A moment of honesty:
In order for me to be the kind of person God uses, I need to change the following things in my life.....


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 21, Issue 18     October 2, 2011

Acts 11:26  “The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”

Acts 26:28  “Agrippa said to Paul, you almost persuaded me to be a Christian.”

I Peter 4:16  “If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”

Acts 11 shows that non-Christians referred to us by the name Christian, while in Acts 26 we see King Agrippa referring to the Jewish sect as Christian. Again, it was other people or non-Christians referring to us by this name.

Finally, Peter says, “If any of you suffer persecution as a Christian…”  It seems that Scriptures are clear that the term Christian, which identifies the followers of Christ, was at first derogatory and used by non-Christians to identify the followers of Jesus.

Today’s definition of the word Christian is:

As an adjective…..
1. Professing belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
2. Relating to or derived from Jesus or Jesus's teachings.
3. Manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus; Christlike.
4. Relating to or characteristic of Christianity or its adherents.
5. Showing a loving concern for others; humane.

As a noun…..
1. One who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or follows the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
2. One who lives according to the teachings of Jesus.

We are surrounded by people professing to be Christian.

The church’s greatest enemy is not without but within.
The temple of truth will not be damaged half as much by woodpeckers on the outside as by termites on the inside.

If the church would only be the church and if Christians would only be Christians, nothing would be able to hold back our onward march!

We are smitten with an inferiority complex because there is something wrong with us in both creed and conduct - in what we believe and in the way we live.

In the old days battle lines were drawn, battles were fought in the open.  Today it is not fashionable to take a stand against anything.

Defenders of the faith have become week kneed - tolerant of every thing - offensive in nothing.  What was black and white has become gray.
  • If I speak out against heresy, I am declared un-Christian.
  • If I dare express even a suspicion about wolves in sheep’s clothing, I am declared to be un-loving.
Sermons on Sunday are denied by the way most church members live during the week.

The greatest scandal of Christianity is the low grade of Christian living.

We are many but not much!

Somehow the quality of our Christianity hasn’t kept up with the quantity.

The average church member shows no evidence of being born again.  Very few are concerned about forsaking the world, crucifying the flesh and resisting the devil.

 Revelation 3:14-22
The Church of Laodicea... “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and don’t know that you are poor wretched and miserable, and blind, and naked: I counsel you to buy from Me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness does not show; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.”

There is much talk about unity today, but if churches are unified to each other it is of little effect.
We must be united in Christ!

We need to once again stand out in stark contrast to the world around us.

  • There has to be more of a contrast between believers and non-believers than the fact that believers attend meetings.
There is no “new” code of conduct for Christians.  You either are or you are not!  Hot or cold!

  • For soldiers, there is the army way.
  • For sailors, there is the navy way.
  • Ordinary citizens have little or no knowledge of such internal ways of doing things.
Likewise, there is the way that God does things in His Kingdom and unless you are in the His Kingdom, you will not understand His ways.

Matthew 6:33
 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.”

How will you seek His Kingdom if you don’t know what it looks like?

The Kingdom of God can be translated as God's way of doing things.  It is how God would do things here on earth.  And the first step to do things His way is to give up your own way.

 But today, the majority of people who attend church, week after week, are two kingdom-minded.

On a typical Sunday, four out of every 10 adults or 40%, attend a church service, which is a big decline from the early 90s.

Today, more than 1/3 of Protestant attendees are not born again.  Only 3% of people who attend church truly tithe.

 Jesus said in Luke 12:34, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

In other words, the condition or the direction of your heart can be understood just simply by looking at your bank statement.

  Most astoundingly, there is no difference between the way the world lives and the way churchgoers live.

 You cannot mature spiritually if all you do is show up at church meetings and absorb a few ideas.

The difference will become strikingly evident between those who make faith the core of their lives and those who simply attach a religious component to an already mature lifestyle.

We are living in the shadow of the church of Laodicea; spiritually lukewarm with very limited effort being devoted to spiritual growth.

When comparing the lifestyle choices of born again Christians to the national norms, there are more areas of similarity than distinction.  This can be seen in the way they live, in their opinions on specific moral issues, in viewing adult-only content on the internet and in reading magazines or watching videos with explicit sexual content.

The divorce rate within the church is the same as outside the church.

Please do not misunderstand me - we must be more than critics of the situation around us… it is not enough to expose the unfruitful works of darkness we must turn the light of a positive Christian testimony upon them.

The only way to minister effectively to this generation is to be Christians in it!

Not just church members, but Christians!

 God give us a handful of all-out Christians who scorn the values of this world and live by rigid discipline willing to be called the scum of the earth and be a spectacle to this world for the scandal of the cross!

Why not just be Christians! 


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 21, Issue 17    September 18, 2011

What is this ‘art’ they call effective communication anyway?

One talk and the other stands there and looks like they’re interested and vice versa.  How hard is that?

Matthew 11:15  “He that has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Matthew 13:16  “But blessed are your ears, for they hear.”

Luke 8:8  “Jesus said, He that has ears to hear, let him hear.”

According to Webster's Dictionary, the follow are the meanings of the words hear and listen:
HEAR: To perceive or apprehend by the ear
LISTEN: To hear something with thoughtful attention

Unless you are hearing-impaired, hearing simply happens.
Listening, is something you consciously choose to do.

Just about everybody hears, but only so many people listen.

Listening leads to learning.

John 8:43  “Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word.”If you were to take one ping pong ball and throw it out towards people, it is usually caught.  If you take five balls and throw them at once, most people miss them all.  The only person that will catch one of them is that rare person who will focus on a single ball.  When we have too much relational noise, we lose focus and “drop the ball”.

One problem for us is “overchoice”.  We are living in a world that offers us too many options.

“Overchoice” keeps us and our relationships average because it prevents us from focusing for very long on any one thing.

Focus is absolutely essential to doing things well, whether it’s building a house or building a relationship.

There can be no real listening apart from focus.

The ear is much more than an organ of hearing.  It affects functions including energizing and regulating the brain’s state of alertness and attention.  It controls balance, co-ordination, muscle tone and eye muscles.

Our listening abilities
affect our
communication capabilities.

Better listening means enhanced voice production, more fluid speech and a better quality of life.

When your spouse is speaking to you, how in-tune are you with what they have to say?

Are you hearing
Are you listening?

Being an active listener allows you to ask the right questions.

Simply hearing results in improper questions at wrong times.

Listening will put others at ease and allow you to be effective.

Most of us have been gifted with the ability to hear,
but few of us have refined it  into the art of listening.

Hearing people is one thing,
But listening to them is quite another.

When it comes to the similarities between listening and hearing, the only one is you use your ears for both.

For instance…..
have you ever had someone try to talk to you while you’re watching TV?  You’re into the last ten minutes of an hour show and you are caught up in the plot, so while they stand there and talk to you, your body is facing the TV, your eyes are on the TV.  Maybe one ear, is devoted to the poor soul trying to talk to you.

Your body language states very clearly “What I’m watching on the TV is more important than you” and certainly you’re not really listening to what the person’s telling you.

Then there are the times, that before the other person even has spoken 10 words we jump into the editing room of our mind to prepare an answer.  Before they’re done, we respond but usually it is off target.

How can you listen if you are busy thinking of your response?

Next time you’re in a conversation or you are overhearing one, see how many times one party interrupts the other before he or she is finished speaking.

Check yourself…..to see if you get the urge to jump in before the other person is through.

We are a society that is always in a hurry.  Rush! Rush! Rush….even when it comes to the ‘art’ of conversation.

There are times when we are distracted or have our own agenda.  What we hear then becomes like the “wah-wah-wah” of the Charlie Brown’s teacher.

No words...
No meaning...
Just noise!

If you are busy formulating the point you want to make or looking for the next time the speaker is going to take a breath so you can jump in with your agenda, you are not listening.

The positive effects of good listening are far-reaching.

If I allow an agenda or personal need to high jack the conversation, I become self-serving which is grounded in lack of self-confidence and a need to prove something.

When it is not about me saying something and instead I give my full attention, it allows the other person a chance to share their wisdom and viewpoints.

They get the experience of truly being listened to and of contributing and you get a chance to learn.

Seems like a win-win to me.

Acts 28:27  “For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”

So today, think on things you need to work on!


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 21, Issue 16     September 11, 2011

“Jesus said to His disciples, I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father has appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom.”  Luke 22:29&30

There is such a stunted understanding of Christ in the church.  Even with all the preaching, the praising, the endless meetings few have a true appreciation for the Lord's table!

OK….let’s cut to the chase!  Most of our revelation of Christ is historical, which causes us to have a very limited revelation of the Lord.  Jesus invites us to fellowship with Him, yet we settle for a “Cole’s Notes or Readers Digest” historical overview.

Every day Jesus looks over the table He has prepared for us
but the fact is there are so many empty seats!

There is little spiritual joy.  We are doing more and more for a Lord we know less and less about!

We seldom dine with Him.

Paul had experienced one of the most spiritual calls a man of God ever received, but Paul wanted more!

Something in his soul cried out, “Oh that I might know Him”!  No wonder he could say, “I have determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”  I Corinthians 2:2

For Paul….
  • conversion wasn’t enough!
  • a supernatural visitation wasn’t enough!
  • a one-time blinding vision of Christ, a one-time miraculous hearing of His voice from heaven, wasn’t sufficient!
I’m going to recommend 3 commitments for us to work on.

Seek a fuller revelation of Christ

  1. What was your prayer life like this week?
  2. What were some things you prayed about:
So now, I challenge you to seven days of Radical Prayer.

  • not for things
  • not for blessings
  • not to be used
  • not for anything of self
But praying only for a fuller revelation of the glory and vastness of Jesus.

You only get to know Jesus by being in His presence!
Busy, preoccupied people never do get to know Him in the deeper intimate way.

No freshness, just a rehashing of days gone by.  Nothing but stale memories and dusty visions.

Our vision of Christ is too small, too limited and too safe.
If we had a true revelation of Christ - how measureless, limitless, immense - we’d never again be overwhelmed
by life's problems.

Let Christ live through you with an ever increasing passion

Paul said, “In Him we live, and move and have our being.”  Acts 17:28

True Christians live within this very small circle; their very existence is wrapped up in the interests of Christ.

Increase Christ's life in Your Life

Paul makes it clear that “Christ was revealed in him, not simply to him.”  Galatians 1:16


If you want nothing but Christ….
  • you’ll hide yourself away with Him!
  • you won’t have to be persuaded to seek Him!
  • you will go often to your secret closet, knowing the moment you walk in, you are seated at His table!
  • you will worship!
  • you will sit in His presence, in no hurry, loving Him, longing to really know Him.
So many of us just use Christ to further our own dreams.

Do you know what our Lord wants most of all from those who claim to be devoted to Him?

Do you know what would please Him?

I believe the Lord showed me the one thing He seeks above all else and that is for us to come to His table!

We’ve vacated our seat at His Table and settled for a sort of “take out” service.  Choosing to go thru the Sunday morning “Drive Thru” rather than the intimate “sit down feast”!

We are hungry, but out of time….so we grab a “Happy Meal”.  We shove fries and a burger in our mouth while we drive in rush hour traffic.  But hang on it’s not in vain…. look there’s a “toy” inside.

We settle for gracelets…...bits and pieces of God as we rush through this life hoping to die well.  But dear friends, you should be more concerned about living well.

You may think there are times you get so excited about God that you actually cry out to Him for more.  But supersizing your take out order doesn’t change the fact it is still a take out order - you still have no time for Him.

Our Heavenly Father is looking for believers who will seek a revelation of Him - a very deep personal intimacy.

Amos 8:11  “Behold, the days come, says the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.”

Cherish His invite!  Run to His table!  
Don’t make Him call you twice!

The word for table can also mean spread”.  God isn't speaking of just a little plate of food.  He's talking about a spread of goods - a massive feast!

Furthermore, to set the atmosphere, God declares that this feast is a time for laughter, joy and singing.

Then!  O saints hear me now - As you dine God anoints your head with the oil of gladness.

Psalm 23:5, 45:7 and Hebrews 1:9

Meanwhile, as God is preparing and serving your feast, He makes your enemies sit on the outer fringes, watching everything unfold.

“Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He comes shall find watching: verily I say to you, that He shall gird Himself and make them to sit down to meat and will come and serve them.”  Luke 12:37

I tell you, no demon power, including the devil himself, could ever comprehend this kind of love, mercy and grace.

John 21:12  “Jesus said, Come and dine……”

Ask the Lord what He would have you do for Him this week!